Promoting science teacher education through dissonance and discrepancy

Nelofer Halai, Alan E. Wheeler

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While inquiry in science teaching has found a great deal of acceptance (Colletet and Chiapetta, 1989), there is a growing recognition that educators need a wider repertoire of inquiry strategies applicable to various situations. One promising approach is through the use of so-called ‘dissonant’ or ‘discrepant events’. This concept of discrepancy can be traced to the early work of Festinger (1975) and his Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in which he stated that the creation of dissonance is psychologically very uncomfortable and motivates individuals to actively reduce the level of dissonance and thereby return to a state of greater equilibrium or consonance. This approach is consistent with current research in the area of conceptual change (Stofflett, 1994) which maintains that students’ dissatisfaction with their existing conceptions constitutes a fundamental condition in bringing about meaningful inquiry in science designed to promote student curiosity and learning. The generalized use of conceptual conflict is discussed in relation to a number of research findings in this area. Implications of this strategy appropriate for teacher education are also presented and discussed.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalInstitute for Educational Development, Karachi
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1998

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